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Bulldog sophomore relief pitcher Jonathan Holder has been named to the initial watch list for the ninth annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball.

Holder, who posted a 2-1 record with nine saves and an 0.32 earned run average last spring, is one of six SEC pitchers included on the 75-player watch list announced Friday by the NCBWA. The former Gulfport (Miss.) High School standout set a Mississippi State recorded for consecutive scoreless innings pitched last year when he opened his career with 27.1 innings of shutout relief work. The righty helped MSU compile a school record-matching 21 saves in 2012.

Holder and his Bulldog teammates will be available for autographs Saturday during MSU’s “First Pitch/Fan Day” baseball celebration set for an 11 a.m. start at the Griffis Boardroom/Palmeiro Center. Washington Nationals utility player and former Diamond Dog Tyler Moore will be the guest speaker at the event. Tickets are $12 each and will be available at the door.

Mississippi State, sporting a No. 5 preseason national ranking by Baseball America, opens its 2013 campaign and a 37-game home schedule next weekend when the Bulldogs welcome the University of Portland Pilots to Dudy Noble Field for a four-game weekend series. Sunny weather is in the opening day forecast for State’s 123rd baseball season-opener.

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